Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Native plants' surprising uses: Talk by biologist and Gabrieleno Indian Thursday at Franklin Canyon Park

Biologist and Gabrieleno Indian Matt Teutimez (pictured) will be speaking on the many extraordinary ways in which native plants have been used by Native Americans. 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23, at Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills.

Matt has done some truly dynamic presentations on native plants at the Whittier Narrows Nature Center, and tomorrow's event in Franklin Canyon's William O'Douglas Outdoor Classroom promises to be engaging and informative too.

The Web page for the event explains that indigenous plants "were the backbone of daily life for local Native Americans. Plants were used for food, clothing, tools, weapons, medicine, shelter, trade items, toys and games, artistic expression, and spiritual objects that helped maintain a connection to the earth."

Tomorrow's presentation is part of Franklin Canyon Park's "Nachochan Gathering" series. The word "nachochan," the Website explains, "is a form of greeting in Tongva meaning 'My eyes see your eyes. My hands are open.' We open our hands to you and they are filled with the traditions, songs, games, and food of Native American cultures."

The park and series invite people to "bring your friends or make new ones and relish in a new topic each month. It's a kaleidoscope of hands-on learning, crafts, and guest speakers.

Franklin Canyon Park is at 2600 Franklin Canyon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Click here (PDF) for a list of programs and a map of the park. Or call (310) 858-7272, ext. 131, for more information.